Israeli Newspapers Aren’t Dying – They Are Committing Suicide

[singlepic id=195 w=300 h=446 float=right]I watched a few of the first episodes of Israel’s first season of Survivor, but saw enough shots in which the female contestants’ backsides where filling up the entire screen, in order to determine this was no mistake, only another step closer to imitating the raunch culture oversees. When the Israeli media started referring to contestant Marina Kavisher as the “National Rump”, I noted to myself that this just might amount to sexual harrasment as defined by Israeli law – but kept my mouth (and keyboard) silent. As Israeli Survivor’s season 2 comes to a close, Maariv‘s fashion supplement Sig’non decided to commemorate this important event with “The Big Ass Quiz” which urges readers to match each backside with a face.

I don’t have anything particularly smart or funny to say about this. I just think this is another sign my countrymen are growing further apart from me – or vice versa.

Update: You can read this post in Hebrew here.

Media Mention: Shahar Golan Interviews with Haaretz Newspaper

I was interviewed for an article that was published today in the English edition of Haaretz newspaper, in regards to the 2008 US presidential election. Here are the relevant last two paragraphs:

As the U.S. presidential race reaches Israel, Hebrew-language campaigners try to choose words wisely

By Raphael Ahren


Some political items are created by people who can’t even vote in the United States. Obama supporter Shahar Golan, of Rehovot, crafted a poster with the Hebrew translation of the slogan “Change we can believe in.” After a smear campaign tried denouncing the Illinois senator as a Muslim, Golan felt he had to publicly declare his support for “Baruch Obama,” as he calls him. “As a born and bred Israeli, my interest in the U.S. elections is mainly because American presidents tend to influence the entire world,” the 31-year-old photographer and graphic designer said.” And since I cannot vote myself I create graphics that hopefully might call attention to a candidate worth voting for.” Currently, Golan is working on a new poster featuring a Hebrew version of Obama’s “Yes we can” slogan.

Golan knows that translations can be tricky. On his blog, he elaborated on his choice of words. “Translating ‘Change we can believe in’ proved to be somewhat of a challenge,” he muses, “as the Hebrew word for ‘we can’ (nuchal) is the exact one for ‘crook’ (nochel).” Not wanting to repeat past mistakes, he added that “even a hint of such subliminal connections can be bad.”

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Frivolous Murders and Frivolous Media

The Israeli media is reporting an incident that happened yesterday, in which a man stabbed another man to death in an argument over a parking space. All the major media outlets mentioned the parking space in their headlines, in an attempt to give the frivolous killing a reason.

This approach is ubiquitous in the Israeli media and is something I just cannot comprehend: When a son killed his own mother – does it even matter that ‘it was because she did not buy him a computer‘? When a man was killed in a robbery – does it even matter that ‘the robber got away with only 100 Shekels‘?

Is there an amount of money that makes the killing justifiable or understandable in the public’s eye? Do carcasses tease each other six feet under, saying thing like ‘Hey, at least I was killed for a couple thousand bucks’?

Nine Eleven Got Branded, Nine Eleven Got Sold

A knot of bystanders at Park Row and Beekman Street look up as the south tower begins to collapse | Photograph by Patrick WittyOn this 6th anniversary of the tragedy of September 11th, I just wanted to make a quick note to Israeli news editors:
This might be the most documented event in history, yet every time there is some news item related to the event – like the recorded emergency phone calls being released to the public or any one of those post-9/11 stories – it seems that news editors always use the footage of a plane crashing into the World Trade Center.

With millions of photos and hundreds of videos depicting the first hours of this human tragedy, why is it so important to use that specific point in time, probably the most painful one to watch? Is it intellectual atrophy that forces Israeli news-editors to use the actual impact as a metaphor for the extent of the event? Are these the same people that started calling everything a ‘tsunami’ after the 2004 event – basically comparing every annoying new trend to the catastrophe that caused over 200,000 human casualties?

I leave you with these unanswered questions and one relevant song, Jacob’s Ladder (Not In My Name) by Chumbawamba, one of my favorite bands, from which I took the quote for this post’s subject.

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Aroma Espresso Bar Wishes Some of You A Happy New Year

Aroma Espresso Bar Wishes Some of You A Happy New Year | MaarivAs the Jewish new-year draws near, Israeli coffee shop chain Aroma Espresso Bar placed this full page ad in today’s papers, wishing us all a Happy New Year. Now, Israel’s official languages are Hebrew and Arabic, but the greeting appears in four languages: Hebrew, English, Arabic and Russian, so it seems the company went out of its way to make everyone feel welcome in the coming holiday.


Amharic, the mother tongue of Israeli Jews of Ethiopian descent, most of which are very observant, is missing from the ad. I would not have mentioned it, but after last year’s incident, in which Aroma’s CEO called a woman a ‘stupid, inferior black stain’ and made sure she noticed his white skin as opposed to her ‘black skin’, I’m not so sure anymore.